WHAT IS A CHURCH?
CONFUSION CLARIFIED BY A GREAT COMMISSION
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority iin heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
-Jesus Christ (Matthew28:18-20)
We celebrate the clarity of Scripture and this commission is one of the reasons why. Jesus was clear in his expectation of what a church is and what it does. Let's break that down here so you can know what a true church looks like and what it does.
A church is a community of ordinary people whose lives have transformed by an extraordinary God. When God calls a person to follow Him, he calls them to a life set apart from the world so that they can be sent back into the world as ambassadors sent with a message of reconciliation. All believers are to live life with a purpose since they have been sent to go into all the world with the message of the Gospel.
In recent years the identity of the church has been confused with cultural crusades or political movements that emphasized a legislated morality. The church is never more influential or impactful that when it is preoccupied with the business of helping people learn and obey the word of God. Jesus commands us to teach for the purpose of helping people learn how to obey the Word. Why? Because the Word is life, and obedience to is the liberation we long for.
Believers are to be baptized as public profession of obedient faith in an act that declares that they have died with Christ, have had their sins washed away and atoned for, and have been resurrected in the newness of life which God imparts to those who believe in the Gospel by faith. Disciples are made among those who are taught to do God's Word. Baptism is very much a "do" thing and one that declares "I am born again"!
TEACH THEM TO DO
This is the essence of what I church is supposed to provide it's people, teaching and a community where that teaching can be lived out. Ephesians chapter 4:11-16 tells us that this is why God gave the church teachers and that was we learn to do what the Bible teaches, we become active participants in building up a community defined by love, purpose, and peace. Church isn't a museum to marvel at relics of history. It's a community where the living Word speaks to us today, informing about which way we ought to go to live lives that are filled with joy and pleasing to God.
Because God the Father has granted His Son all authority on heaven and earth, we have have a guarantee that if we follow Jesus direction for the church, we will find that we meet with success. That is to say if church is created because disciples come together to grow in their faith, share the good news with others, and invite people to join them in their pursuit of Jesus, we will find that God provides in every way for every need we have as His followers. Need evidence for this claim? 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that the Bible is not simply sufficient for religious spiritual things, but that it is also sufficient for life as well.